What is overprescribing?

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

With controlled substances and medications that you can’t buy over-the-counter, doctors have to prescribe that medicine first. Once you get the prescription, you’re then allowed to take it to a pharmacy, where that prescription will be filled. But getting the prescription is a very important step to take because the pharmacy is not going to sell you the medicine without it.

One issue that sometimes arises for medical professionals is that they get accused of overprescribing. They may be worried about losing their license or facing serious charges. What is this and how could it happen?

Unnecessary medication

Generally speaking, overprescribing just means that the doctor has given someone permission to use “more medicine than clinically necessary.” The doctor knew or should have known that the person didn’t need this prescription, but they gave it out anyway.

This could happen in a few different ways. For example, someone could be told to use too much medication at one time, which could have potential adverse effects. This could even lead to an overdose. Another example is if a doctor simply keeps prescribing an addictive substance to an individual after they no longer need it. This type of addiction often happens with opioids, for instance. The patient may have had valid pain at the beginning, but the doctor should have stopped prescribing more medication at a certain point.

Why is it a problem and why does it occur?

This is a problem because it can cause greater levels of addiction in the United States. It’s well-known that opioids are highly addictive and can also cause fatal overdoses – something, something that happens on a fairly regular basis. So doctors need to try to prescribe only the amount of painkillers that are needed to attempt to reduce this opioid epidemic.

Unfortunately, they may fail to do so just based on a mistake in a diagnosis, a mistake on a prescription or for some other reason. People often assume doctors are getting kickbacks or being paid for these unneeded prescriptions, something that is illegal, but it may be an issue that has a far more innocent explanation.

In any case, if you’re facing these types of accusations and you’re worried about your medical license and more, be sure you know what legal steps to take.